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Walt Whitman museum in LI may shut down! (and other museum problems)

Kimberly writes:

(excerpt from) Newsday
Economic downturn hammers Long Island museums
by Bill Bleyer / January 26, 2009

Faced with a crippling cut in the state money that provides half of its operating budget, the Walt Whitman Birthplace may shut its doors in April.

Like the state historic site in West Hills, other Long Island museums are reeling from the economic downturn. They’re slashing discretionary spending and in some cases staff.

The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton has eliminated a half dozen positions. The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington has imposed a 5 percent salary cut for all employees. And the board of the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook is meeting this weekend to cut staff and programs…

While the Whitman Birthplace is owned and maintained by the state, operations are paid for by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, a private, nonprofit organization. The operating budget is $180,000 a year, and the state provided $52,500 in 2007 and $45,000 in 2008 in grants arranged by State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset). Next year’s proposed state budget includes no money for the museum…

Executive director Cynthia Shor eliminated staff travel and professional development spending, and began a commemorative brick program and new Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs, and organized the site’s first summer educational program for this year. The museum is pinning most of its hopes for making up the lost $45,000 next year on holding its first fundraising black-tie gala June 3…

You know how much I love Walt Whitman? I celebrate his birthday on May 31st each year…


3 Responses

  1. What a beautiful tribute! I just completed a year-long artistic process where I sifted and sculpted Leaves of Grass into a meditative CD. I have a feeling you would appreciate it! I’m hoping to get to visit the Walt Whitman museum next year, so I do hope it is still open. Wishing you all the best! Fellow Walt Whitman enthusiast. Anne Marie

    You can click here to view the CD. Thanks so much!


  2. Hello Kimberly, I trust the museum is still open? I would like to know as I send Walt a birthday card there every year……..thanks from a Whitmanite in merry ol’ England


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